NEW DELHI: In what could send the government back to the drawing board to rework the route to economic recovery, rainfall prediction was lowered by the earth sciences ministry putting the foodgrain belt of India — Punjab and Haryana — on notice for a failing monsoon.
UPA pundits hoping to post an economic recovery on the basis of strong results in the agricultural sector have been set back by the new estimates.
A fall in agricultural production could come as a double whammy for economists. It would dry up demand from rural markets which have been the stabilising factor in the economy. It would also increase demand for social sector interventions such as NREGS, sucking a higher level of subsidy and putting fiscal deficit limits to test.
The weatherman on Wednesday said the northwest region would suffer a 19% rain deficit. While IMD and earth sciences minister Prithviraj Chavan shirked from stating if this would be classified as drought-like situation for the region, scientists prefaced the word to soften the warning saying it could be called a meteorological drought’.
While the IMD assuaged fears saying July and August could see a recovery of rains, government agrometry experts warned that the shortening of the monsoon did not augur well for many crops.
“The 15 days of sowing is the most critical for farmers regardless of which crop one considers. Failure of rain during sowing even if monsoon strikes back in later periods is not in the farmers’ favour,” a senior government agrometry expert said.